It can be an unglamorous, challenging time to volunteer as there is no patient interaction and the experience is much different from volunteering onboard during field service, but the work is just as vital.
Patients could not be helped without the contribution of volunteers during the shipyard phase.
What went through your mind when you walked up the Africa Mercy’s gangway for the first time?
It was the dry dock gangway, I had just flown for over 24 hours. I was worried about having a hernia carrying my bags up all the stairs.
Tell us about your time on the ship, what gave you strength – what took it away?
While I was on the ship for 2 short months the management staff changed three times. This was incredibly difficult and frustrating as everyone had their own way of doing things. The fact that I had weekends off gave me strength from this.
Were you ever burned out – why? What helped you to recover?
The weekend that I had to clean the entire ship on my own because we had no day crew. To be honest it’s a miracle I did recover.
Was there a song/singer/band etc. that got you through your time of service?
Talk to us about what it’s like to transition back home. What has been a joy? What has been difficult?
Missing the cohesive community of the ship, it is much easier to be one’s self on the Africa Mercy, other than that I have loved coming home to see my family and close friends.
What is it really like living on a hospital ship?
What would you tell someone who is thinking to apply to serve with Mercy Ships Canada?
Go for it, the trip has ups and downs but in the long run, it’s worth it and it’s an uncommon opportunity.
Share your favorite quote or some words of wisdom with us!
“If not us, who? If not now, when? – JFK
Do you have any Africa Mercy hacks you can share with us?
Make 2-minute showers last longer by turning off the water when using the soap/ shampoo, make a clothesline in your room to dry your towel. Find a group of people to do the dancing with the stars workout videos on movie night with, it’s hilarious and totally worth it.